How to Deal With a Bad College Roommate

If you’re reading this because you’re not getting along with your college roommate, don’t fret. BFF roommates are the exception, not the rule. It’s far more likely that your college roommate will simply be someone who helps you figure out what you don’t like in a life partner. If that’s the case, here are a few ways to deal with a bad college roommate that might help you avoid getting into a blood feud your freshman year.

Talk to Your RA

Your resident advisor is there to do just that. They advise. They are usually there to advise specifically on roommate issues and are often trained in conflict management. If you feel like your situation is untenable, use them as a listening ear. It’s likely they’ll have some good advice for you, and they’re probably way easier to lock down than a counselor. Also, if it does become apparent that one of you will have to move, they’re most likely going to be the person that will kick start that process, so better to get to know them sooner rather than later.

Document Everything

If you roommate is problematic from the start, but you don’t think anyone will agree with you at first, start writing down what you don’t like. This way, when you decide to either confront them or seek assistance from someone else to deal with any problems, you’ll have a well-documented pattern of behavior. That kind of thing will go a long way toward making you look rational and mature. And, let’s face it, you probably are.

Don’t Gossip

If you’re having an issue with the person you share a small space with, it’s best not to invite anyone else into that space. Odds are you share some mutual friends, but however satisfying it may be to vent to those friends about how horrible your roommate is, it’s not worth it in the long run. Gossiping that gets back to the other person involved has a nasty way of turning what could be a small problem into a giant, hurt feelings, tear-jerking feud. Spoiler alert: this is college, not Vietnam. There is nothing that happens that is so bad you can’t keep it to your parents or your RA.


Sometimes, despite best efforts, things don’t work out. It sucks, but when colleges put together anonymous people to share small spaces, it’s not going to work out 100% of the time. When it looks like it’s not going to, figure out how to move, fast. This is a relationship that has an incredible amount of power over your life. Having roommate problems will make it difficult to concentrate on your classes, and class is the reason you fought so hard to go to Alabama State University or USC Online or wherever you worked really hard to go to. If you can’t get along with the random the school assigned you, move out and make your life better. Don’t make it a point of pride to be the one who “wins” the crappy freshman dorm. It’s not worth it.


How to Handle Roommate Conflicts in College

If you’re reading this, odds are you’re having a problem with your college roommate. We’re sorry — that totally blows and is probably ruining your whole week if not your day. When schools so often put basically anonymous people together to share one small space, it obviously breeds conflict. Remember, you’re not alone and roommate fights are far more common that roommate BFFs. Here are a few tips that should help you resolve any current conflicts or perhaps prevent them in the future.

Lay Down Some Rules

When you and your roommate first start living together, set up some mutual ground rules you both agree to follow. Talk about when you want lights out to be, how many people can be over at the same time, if there are overnight guests allowed, etc. All of these things are potentially major sources of conflict because they all can affect the overall experience of the room. If both of you are clear on what the other needs from the space, in the beginning, you’ll avoid a large number of potential conflicts down the road.

Your RA is Your Friend

Your resident advisor is there to do just that — advise. If you’re having an issue with your roommate right off the bat, go and see your RA as soon as possible. Odds are they’re trained in a little bit of conflict management, so they should be able to give you some good advice on how to approach any early fights. Also, they can serve as a safe listening ear should you need to vent.

All in the Family

If you’re having an issue with the person you share a small space with, don’t invite other people into the conflict. Trust us, you’ll be sorry. Odds are you share some mutual friends, but however satisfying it may be to vent to those friends about how horrible your roommate is, it’s not worth it in the long run. If it gets back to your roommate it could turn a kind of bad situation into a nuclear feud, and that is exactly what you don’t want going into finals.

Get Out

It is not worth keeping a room that is miserable. If your pride is telling you to hold out until the other person moves, all you’re doing is making yourself miserable for a tiny shared bedroom. It isn’t worth it. Bad living situations can affect your mental health, your physical health, and your grades. Do not extend one because you want to “win” or be proven right in the eyes of your peers. If you have a bad college roommate and it doesn’t look like it’s going work out between you two, move. If all you’ve wanted to do is go to Tufts University your whole life, don’t let one bad relationship get in the way of you doing well there. If you can’t handle a bad roommate, it might be time to start looking into Maryville’s online marketing MBA. That’s something you can do from home.